Back in May, I gave a talk at the SiriusDecisions 2012 annual sales & marketing summit called “Market Like Never Before.” The audience latched onto various elements of the presentation, including “big glass buildings don’t buy software, people do” and “not everything that can be counted counts.” But the highlight of the presentation for most was when I demo’d our SAP Marketing pillars and KPIs from my iPad and discovered live that we had an issue with one of our KPIs in North America. (My colleague Phil was in the audience and jumped up to go solve the problem!)
What was especially gratifying was that several people found our journey to become a best-run marketing organization to be very similar to the journeys that they were on. In the following weeks, several companies reached out to me to ask if I would be willing to re-give the presentation to their Marketing teams. My schedule is much too full to support all the requests but I agreed to do so for LinkedIn, largely because I’ve always admired the company and have been using the site since 2003.
In early July, I stood in front of LinkedIn marketers from all over the world and talked to them about our journey. I told them that I thought that there were three tenets of modern marketing:
- Control the message and orchestrate the conversation
- Synchronize a person’s experience across all channels
- Marry the art and science of marketing
I showed them our marketing pillars and our KPIs. I talked about our need to go from activities metrics to outcomes, from silos to teams, and from helping sales sell to helping buyers buy.
I had wondered whether the LinkedIn marketers would resonate with a B2B story. They did. Their CMO told me he believed they were on the same journey as we were and related to nearly everything we were experiencing. From what I gathered, LinkedIn also deals with the balance of central vs. local programs. Like us, they have many campaigns in market and, at times, feel like they are developed independently of each other. They are also emphasizing the power of storytelling to “humanize the brand”.
Most of the audience had previously thought of us as a “big expensive German ERP software company.” I got to do some myth busting. Very few people had heard of SAP HANA, knew we were in the mobile business or realized we had cloud offerings. It was a good reminder that we need to continue to tell the story of how SAP helps business run better in an understandable and memorable way. Many people came up to me afterwards, or connected with me on LinkedIn, and promised to help us tell the new story of SAP.
I wish I had time to do more of these as it’s a great way for me to tell the story of SAP. I hope the LinkedIn team learned as much from me as I did from them that day.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. If you’re a marketer, tell me about your journey to be a best-run marketing organization. Regardless of whether you are a marketer or not, I’d also be interested to hear if you still think of SAP as a “big expensive German ERP software company” or are our efforts to tell the SAP story in a human way working?